Investing in Our Nation's Future Military Leaders' Synthetic Biology Knowledge to Understand and Recognize Threats and Applications

J Jordan Steel, Katherine L Bates, Michael D Barnhart
2019 Synthetic Biology  
Synthetic biology encompasses some of the greatest advancements in biology. With improvements in molecular methods and techniques that allow targeted and highly efficient genome manipulation, the capabilities of engineering biology has significantly increased. These enhancements in biotechnology represent significant potential benefits and risks to the global population. It is important that future leaders are trained and understand the incredible benefits, opportunities, and risks associated
more » ... th synthetic biology. The US Department of Defense (DoD) has issued a technical assessment on the future opportunities of synthetic biology and has encouraged the military institutions to expand and encourage bioengineering research programs. At the US Air Force Academy (USAFA), opportunities are provided for future Air Force officers to recognize the potential and risks associated with synthetic biology by participating in the USAFA Synthetic Biology Education Program (USBEP). Cadets can enroll in synthetic biology courses to learn and master molecular biology techniques and work on independent undergraduate research projects. Additionally, cadets have the opportunity to join the US Air Force Academy's International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team and compete in the international synthetic biology competition. This report includes details on how USAFA has recruited, enrolled, and encouraged synthetic biology research and education among future leaders in the US Air Force.
doi:10.1093/synbio/ysz024 pmid:33033745 pmcid:PMC7445786 fatcat:7ag6xxu2mzd4dfmzancmn2cvcu